How to Work With a Reluctant Doctor on Your Social Security Disability Claim

One of the most important players in your Bellevue disability benefits case is your treating physician.

That’s the licensed medical doctor who has had the longest and closest professional relationship with you at the time you apply for disability benefits. Social Security views the opinion of this doctor as so important that disability examiners and administrative law judges are required by law to give it “substantial” weight when determining your case.

Obviously, one of the first individuals you can and should speak with after deciding to apply for disability will be your doctor. But what happens if that doctor is reluctant—or outright opposed—to providing you with the help you need?

Find out the doctor’s reasons for not wanting to help.

Doctors can have several reasons for not wanting to help a patient filing for disability—from reasonable anxieties that can be worked out with old-fashioned communication to irreconcilable differences of opinion.

Some of the reasons we’ve seen doctors give our clients for not wanting to cooperate include:

  • I don’t want to get bogged down with endless paperwork.
  • I’m concerned that my reputation as a physician will be damaged if Social Security disagrees with my opinion.
  • I don’t want to be called to testify on your behalf or get dragged in to litigation.
  • I think Social Security disability is a government handout and helping you would endorse the system.
  • I don’t agree that you are disabled.

Even if your physician responds in a way that upsets or offends you, do your best to remain calm. Only continue the conversation if you’re certain you will be able to respond in a levelheaded way—otherwise, politely conclude the conversation and step back to consider your options. Remember, this individual is one of the most important resources in your case.

Attempt to address the doctor’s objections.

Some objections can be easily overcome with more knowledge about the application process.

When dealing with a doctor’s difference of opinion about your impairments or the Social Security disability program, it may be in your best interests to reach out to a professional who has experience dealing with doctor’s objections. In other words:

Talk to a knowledgeable Bellevue Social Security lawyer.

If a disability attorney isn’t able to persuade your physician to help, they’ll at least be able to advise you on the point at which you will need to consider finding a new primary care physician. This a difficult decision that involves that involves balancing many factors.

Do you need to know more? Contact the Cuddigan Law today at 402-933-5405 or [email protected] for a free evaluation. Give Yourself the Best Chance of Winning Your Social Security Disability Case, our informative booklet on the Social Security disability claims process, is available free to your request.

Sean D. Cuddigan
SSA and VA Disability Attorney in Omaha, Nebraska